Sara Constantino is a young environmental activist and social media influencer from Colombia, advocating for a sustainable present and restorative future. She works with indigenous communities in their empowerment, and within a growing digital community on sustainable actions around diet, consumption and waste.
“We have access to quality information just one click away. Also just a click away is our capacity to connect and mobilise with millions of people from all around the world for causes that are bigger than ourselves.”
Privileged to be born and raised in Colombia, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, I grew up surrounded by the contrast of unbelievable landscapes and ecosystems, but with few material possessions.
When I was younger, I did not fully understand my, or my country’s, richness. I would watch movies and aspire to have cool sneakers, walk through big supermarket aisles of rainbow-coloured candy and sugared cereals, and travel to meet Mickey Mouse or a Disney princess. I was distracted and entertained with all those things that money can buy.
But, through the power of information, I have come to realise how lucky and fortunate I was. I grew up eating fresh fruit, in all shapes, colours and flavours, just harvested from the backyard: guava, pitaya, pineapple, passionfruit and many others I’ve yet to find a name for. On weekends we would bathe in crystal-clear rivers that flowed near our cities. We would have running water in our homes that came from the closest paramo. Kids would be playing in the garden with flowers, rocks and leaves while birds, insects and squirrels fed on flowers and fruits. Everything we needed and more was there, provided by nature.
Some decades ago, communities that lived in harmony with nature were seen as underdeveloped, and standing up for the Earth’s biodiversity was something only a few visionaries did. But times have changed. We are now living the dystopian future once imagined; impacts once predicted are now real.
We live in an era of awakening, change and connection. The science has never been clearer and, more than ever before, we have access to quality information just one click away. Also just a click away is our capacity to connect and mobilise with millions of people from all around the world for causes that are bigger than ourselves.
We now understand our real richness: inhabiting the only living planet that, so far, we know of. To maintain the balance and health of our only home we must care for nature as we care for ourselves. We already know the solutions needed, that we can be a part of, to restore a thriving planet and facts keep accumulating to help us commit to unprecedented, ambitious goals.
Technology and access to information helps more children, youths and adults connect and walk together to protect nature, but at the same time, we should not forget there is much to learn from communities that still live the coexistence of humanity and nature every day. They can teach us how to have a reciprocal relationship with the environment that provides for us. For a balanced healthy planet, all that is missing is the determination to improve and flourish side by side with the rest of life on Earth. A future of harmony in between nature and humans is the only possible lasting future.